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Myth or Fact: Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Years

Fitday Editor
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From the time that you were a young child, your parents or friends most likely warned you that swallowing gum is dangerous and to avoid it at all costs. Through the years, you have most likely heard many different versions of what becomes of the gum in your body. But one thing seems to be a constant part of each version--any gum that is swallowed will remain in your body for years to come.

Seven Years

The most popular account of this myth is that the body does not digest your gum and will stay in your body for seven years. Old wives tales go a bit further in warning that the gum will grow into a tree within your stomach. Better yet, the gum will entangle itself around the intestines and eventually strangle them, causing your digestion process to cease. The various warnings are many and continue to this day.

Gum Disposal

While there is no harm in parents or friends warning of the dangers of swallowing gum, there is no truth to the myths. Gum, although not intended for consumption, goes through the same digestion process as foods that are meant for swallowing and eating. The insoluble portion of gum, which is gum base, when swallowed travels through your esophagus, through your system and winds up in the large intestine. Excretion from the body takes place next and this whole process takes little more than a couple of days.

While swallowing is not the ideal way to dispose of gum, it does not cause any harm. It simply will take your body a little longer, measured in days not years, to expel the gum from your body.

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